3. 1980: U.S. Men’s Olympic Hockey ‘Miracle on Ice’
The “Miracle on Ice” remains the benchmark for legendary Olympic competition. In a time when only amateur athletes were allowed to participate for the US, the Soviets made it their mission as a country to produce the world’s best hockey team, giving the Americans a slim chance at even competing. With the political tension of the Cold War punching up the rivalry of the game, the US managed to stay within striking distance through the first two periods, trailing 3-2 thanks to some great goaltending from Jim Craig (the Soviets outshot the US 12-2 in the second period). Of course, that set the stage for the tying and winning goals in the third, with the game culminating with the classic “Do you believe in miracles?!” call by sportscaster Al Michaels. The Americans won their last game of the tournament against Finland two days later, securing the gold medal.
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